As I'm sure some of you know by now... we had a bit of a tragedy in town over the weekend. And a first for me as a resident.
There was a murder in Rankin Inlet on Saturday. The woman who was killed was in her sixties. The man they have in custody was a relative of hers.
The police named the man as a son. But this is Nunavut, and family dynamics are far more complex than that.
It's not the first time I've come up against this. Personally and professionally. You really need to be careful how bitchy you are about people in this place. You never know who you are talking with is related to – either directly or indirectly.
I had a conversation with a woman today who has this theory that one cause of the “social problems” in the north is the way kids are adopted in and out with such fluidity.
I don't know if there's any truth to her theory. But I can say that the way kids are conceived and adopted and raised is very different from the way I was brought up.
If you think kids are having kids too early in the south, check out the average age in Nunavut. I think it was something like 24. Yes. Average age. Mid-twenties. And part of why that's the case I'D SAY is because when they have kids, they know they have their family (immediate AND extended) to lean on when things get tough. It's not so scary, having a kid, when your parents are going to raise it for you.
So you end up with all these very very non-nuclear family units. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing. Because I'm very sure that there are people out there who really and truly benefit from the whole “it takes a village to raise a child” scenario.
But then, there are others ... who end up passed around the extended family, never really knowing who their support is supposed to come from.
Don't get me wrong. I know nothing about the family situation in the situation I mentioned above. I have heard rumours, but I've tried not to give them any mind. But I have to admit, my brain is spinning a bit with the day's events... and it's scary to think a woman was killed just across town. This place isn't very big.
I have to say though, I'm surprised about the local reaction. The people I've been around don't seem all that shook up about the whole event. Shit, if there had of been a homicide in Cornwall... you'd hear people all worried for their personal safety, children would be put on tighter leashes... general over-reactions for all. But then, I guess maybe most homicides down south are random acts of violence. I don't have the stats to back this up, and maybe I'm just making this up for my own benefit, but I feel like family-violence deaths are the rarity, not the norm, back home. And that the reason why people are taking this whole thing in stride is because – god forbid – they are just USED to it.
And that's a scary thought.